Whose Birthday How-To
- What Has Happened to Christmas?
- Why a Simpler Christmas?
- Top 10 Uses of Whose Birthday?
- Going Beyond Whose Birthday?
- Weekly Family Time: How to Use These Reflections & Activities
- Let Us Have a Truly Christ-like Christ-mas
What has happened to Christmas? Too much time spent on parties and not enough on the people important to us? Too much money spent on things, but not enough care given to our loved ones? Too much rush and chaos and crush to fit everything in? Why is Christmas so important to us, and why do we so often feel like weve missed it?
Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? is an alternative to the negative pressures on Christmas. We have asked the same questions and felt the same disconnection between the season and our celebrations.
This magazine has practical ideas to help re-think the ways to celebrate Christmas. Everyone deserves a Christmas that has meaning, value and peace. Slow down, take a breath, and read these suggestions that let the real Spirit of Christ come home this Christmas. Doyle Burbank-Williams, chair, Alternatives Board of Directors
- A simpler Christmas leads to freedom. A consumer Christmas leads to stress and debt. Simplicity leads to generosity.
- It leaves room for more joy. It is such a joy to get the burden of stuff off our shoulders.
- It builds relationships. We are told thousands of times every day by commercial advertising that we will find meaning and happiness through stuff. Voluntary Simplicity says we will find happiness and meaning in life through relationships within ourselves, with others, with the Earth and with God.
- It leads to a whole life of simplicity. Celebrating is one part of a total life of integrity. This booklet is one step on the life-long journey of simple living. Only we can choose to simplify our own lives. This booklet can help.
- It promotes justice. By using only our fair share of Earths resources, we leave some for others around the globe and for future generations. Live Simply that Others May Simply Live.
- It Cares for Creation. A simple life is an Earth-friendly life.
Lets have a simpler Christmas this year! Editor
- Distribute copies of selected articles to individuals, families and groups (Use our free promo kit on on-line.)
- Bible Study, such as a womens circle or mens breakfast
- Sunday School and Adult Forum.
- Pulpit Talk or sermons
- Simple Christmas workshop for your congregation or community (Use our Alternative Event Organizers Kit found in Simple Living 101.)
For Individuals and Families
- Weekly Family Meeting & Fun Time
- Personal devotions
- Mealtime discussion
- Extended family gatherings
- Christmas planning time or event
Hold a family meeting between Oct. 1 and Nov. 1 to talk about Christmas expectations. What does each of us really want? Who is going to do what? What is really most meaningful? Are we willing to spend less on ourselves and give more to the needy? Write down and post decisions and changes to consider.
NOTE: If you need a DAILY Advent/Christmas guide, choose from 20 at SimpleLivingWorks.org >> Archives >> Advent/Christmas Calendars.
Some are lectionary-based, some are thematic. Copy your choice on recycled paper as a bulletin insert, in your own Advent-Christmas booklet or as a series in your weekly service bulletin, for free.
More Exciting, Helpful Ways to Use Whose Birthday?
- Give or mail copies of selected article to friends in place of Christmas cards. Insert a personal note or your family Christmas letter (on recycled paper).
- Send photocopied articles to friends, relatives and members of your congregation.
- Download the text for your church newsletter at SimpleLiving.org >> Archives >> Whose Birthday? Read past editions there too.
- Check out the 20+ ideas of our Simpler Living Community Network. Visit SimpleLivingWorks.org >> Volunteers >> Activities to Try, select an activity. Try it!
- Learn how to influence others toward simpler living. Read Guidelines for Change. Visit Volunteers >> Activities to Try >> Simple Living 101: How to Influence Others.
- Be a proactive volunteer. Read Simple Living 101: Toolbook for Activists Shy or Bold. Listen to Living Simply and Loving It! in teh archives.
- Plan a public event, such as Unplug the Christmas Machine workshop. The Leader's Guide is available free in teh archives. Read Alternative Event Organizers Kit. in Simple Living 101.
Wed love to share your results and ideas with others! See our complete Whose Birthday? Users Guide at SimpleLivingWorks.org >> Volunteers.
We welcome feedback on our free-of-charge policy.
The resources provided here offer individuals, families and other small groups a way to remember the reason we celebrate this holy season. The reflections begin the first week of Advent and follow through the Feast of Epiphany.
+Before Advent begins, make an Advent wreath. Find a book with instructions or follow these simple directions. Take a large, flat, shallow bowl (at least 9 inches in diameter) and fill it with sand or coarse salt. Place four purple candles securely around the edge of the bowl. Place a large white candle in the center. Make a circle of evergreens and place them around the bowl.
+You will also need a manger scene, a Bible and matches. Light one purple candle the week of Advent I; two the week of Advent II, etc. Light all five beginning on Christmas Eve.
+Set aside time each week to worship, perhaps after a meal on Sundays. Invite those who may be alone to join in.
+Depending on the ages of those in your group, adults may want to read the reflections beforehand. Incorporate the activities.
+Read and discuss one Reflection at each meeting. Sing along with the well known tunes of the Carols with Justice CD or from SimpleLivingWorks.org >> Archives, scroll down to Carols.
+Gather around the Advent wreath. Take turns reading, lighting the candles, praying, singing and sharing feelings and ideas.
by Linda Drey-Nightingale
- I have always found it odd that Christmas involves consumerism. Christ was not in the habit of giving physical gifts, but spiritual gifts. We can still enjoy the spirit of giving without buying into consumerism.
- Here are some ideas to enrich your Christmas and not necessarily enrich the pocketbooks of businesses and deplete the environment.
- The possibilities are endless. Just let your mind be creative. While you are out during this holiday season, remember to combine trips, take along a bag for purchases or do not accept a bag for anything you can carry, rent or borrow rather than buy supplies for parties, and enjoy moments with family and friends.
- Give a gift certificate for an outing together (January and February are the perfect times to still be festive.)
- If you have a talent you enjoy, share it with a gift certificate, e.g., pie baking, babysitting, gardening.
- Make a colorful basket of organic fruit, jams, and pasta sauces. This not only can be enjoyed by all but also introduces new people to buying organics.
- Think of what the person enjoys and give a gift certificate for that, e.g., concerts, yarn store, sporting goods, locally-owned restaurants, especially weekly music lessons for a child for a year.
- We maintain houses full of objects. Some of those objects may make perfect gifts for others, especially when passing on family treasures. Then do not replace them!
- By buying someone a membership in a nonprofit they get a double benefit. The money went to someplace they believe in, and they are not writing a thank you note for some object that they did not need. (from Ladera Community Church newsletter, Portola Valley, California, to accompany an Alternative Giving Fair)
If you enjoyed this article, youll also enjoy. . .
- Affluenza book and DVDs
- Living Simply
- Living More with Less - book, study guide, poster, post card, book mark
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